View Full Version : Just went skeet shooting for the first time...

April 19, 2011, 12:28 PM
So this past Sunday I went skeet shooting for the first time. I should also mention that this was the first time I had ever shot, anything.
Everyone at the range was very helpful and friendly and mad it a great experience. At the practice area I hit 12 out of the 25 shells in the box and I figure it wasn't so bad for my first time. Now when we actually went to shoot I hit a whopping 4 out of 25. Practice, practice like dad always said I guess.

So now is where I ask the question that every newbie asks, what should I get?
At the range they had me shooting with a Remington 1100. The instructor said that the length of the stock looked a little short for me from where I was resting my head in to eye down the barrel. Am I making sense?
I feel like if I am to purchase a shotgun it will be mainly for HD and the skeet shooting is a bonus as I don't really see myself having a lot of time to go play.

If it helps I'm 32, 5'11", 155lbs. I would also like to get my 4'11" wife comfortable shooting so that's also a factor.

Should I just buy a Remington 870 like I see so many doing?

Thanks in advance.


April 19, 2011, 12:45 PM
For the shooting games (Skeet, trap, Clays), shotgun fit is paramount. A shotgun should come to your shoulder lit it belongs there and immediately you should be looking down the rib. A shotgun that fits your 5'11 frame won't fit your wife's 4'11 frame, nor my 5'9 frame. Shotgun fit is very individual, like shoe fit.

It seems that the club you used had an instructor. Take his advise on shotgun fit. Talk to him, tell him what you want to accomplish and follow his lead. Get second opinions. Your club may have a "try stock" which is a stock that is almost infinitely adjustable. Ask about that.

Welcome to the shooting sports.

April 19, 2011, 01:31 PM
An auto, like the Rem 1100, is a lot softer shooting if you shoot 50 or 100 rounds in a couple of hours.

You can put a spacer between the stock and the recoil pad to lengthen the pull of most stocks.

I find trap to be simpler than skeet. Consider trying it out while you are learning to bust clays. You can get more practice in with trap, IMHO, because there's less time spent standing around. It's simpler because there's one clay at a time.

April 19, 2011, 02:08 PM
Heh. So it begins.

Thing is, HD shotguns and those guns that excel at clays games tend to be very different. The defensive shotgun usually goes for a shorter length of pull and shorter barrel in order to provide better maneuverability. The sights tend to be an un-ribbed barrel with a bead (and sometimes regular rifle type sights light a peep rear sight, which is really bad for skeet). For semiautos, they're usually set up for heavier loads like 00 buck and slugs, which can mean function issues with lighter loads that won't beat you up that much when shooting several games in an afternoon.

That's not to say you can't get a gun that can do both, but it's hard to get one that will excel at both. IMO, I'd get a gun that leans toward the clay game end of the spectrum; they'll usually fire buckshot just fine for home defense even if they don't really fit that kind of thing. Or just get a cheap pump for defense (like the NEF Pardner) and spend more on a more suitable gun for the clay games (like a Rem 1100, Browning Gold, or a Beretta 390 or 391).

April 19, 2011, 03:17 PM
+1 on what he just said ....

If you want a pump gun / go with something that has a 28" barrel and screw in chokes - so you can change the choke ...some of the 870 models have this and some don't. A better all around pump gun, in my opinion, is the Browning BPS Hunter model with a 28" barrel and you can buy them in 12ga or 20ga for around $ 525...

If you can afford to spend up around $ 800 - then look at some of the semi-autos like the Browning Silver series / its a good entry level shotgun - and stay with a 28" barrel. Its also a gun that your wife might like to shoot - pretty soft recoil / maybe 25% - 40% less than a pump gun with the same shell.

April 19, 2011, 04:15 PM
Budget can become a major factor. Personally, I would want to try more types and brands to see if one of them has "it". "It" is different to everyone, but when you find the gun with "it", you'll know immediately.

There are several makers of good pump guns which can fill the requirements, although a pump is usually a bit of a handicap on the doubles at skeet - it can be done, but since, at the moment, competition is not in the picture and HD is most of it, Mossberg, Remington, Browning, Ithaca, among others, are all good candidates

April 19, 2011, 04:59 PM
So after reading some of your replies I got confused. Apparently I was shooting trap and not skeet. Live and learn I guess.
I was not brought up around guns and living in a suburb of NYC the sport of firearms is not as common as in many other places in the nation.
This forum has been great to read and I feel like I have picked up a lot of information but I've still got a lot to learn, like what the choke is that one of you guys mentioned.
Thank goodness for the internet. :)

April 19, 2011, 06:55 PM
You need to at least google "Trap" and then "skeet" so you have a little understanding of the games ....but yes, they are very different.

However - a good versatile gun / is never a bad idea ...since you said you are not really going to shoot "Trap" too often.

A "choke" is the restriction at the end of the barrel "inside the barrel" - where it constricts the shot going down the barrel - and it affects the size of the "pattern" at the kill range you are shooting at. In "Trap" you are killing hte birds at about 35 yards ...so you need a gun choked at "Modified" that will give you approx a 30" pattern at 35 yards....

Most HD guns have no choke / meaning they are an open cyclinder ...and they would give you about a 60" pattern at 35 yards -- meaning there will be enough holes in the pattern - that a target can fly thru the patten and be unbroken. You screw in a new "choke tube" into the end of the barrel - and you can then have one gun ....that will be ok for many different games, or different birds for hunting, etc .... Guns used to have "fixed chokes" and you could not change them - then in the 1980's or so / a number of the companies like Browning - came out with inserts / that you would screw into the barrels / and thus change the choke ...or the size of pattern.

Before you really buy a shotgun - go back to the club 2 or 3 times - and get a lot more time with some guns. We're trying to be real general here - but good shotguns can easily range from $ 500 - $ 3,000 so its not an insignificant investment ...and if you buy the wrong gun, it gets worse....

Dave McC
April 19, 2011, 07:06 PM
Welcome, Billy.

Choke is a constriction inside the barrel towards the muzzle that controls the spread of the shot charge. More choke,less spread.

Mine the archives for more input.

Do let your wife try out different shotguns nad take lessons from a trained and capable instructor.

In fact, a few lessons would shorten your learning curve, too....

April 19, 2011, 09:55 PM
Thanks for all the info guys. I know I have a long way to go and this is only the beginning.
I'm supposed to drive out to a range in PA this weekend if the weather holds up and my wife will get her first shots in.
All though I'm excited to make a purchase I'm in no hurry to waste money so this will be a well thought out decision.

Thanks again.